Frustrated as to why is my outdoor outlet not working? We can help with that. Let our years for expertise walk you through it with this easy guide.
Your outdoor outlet might not be working for several reasons. It could be a blown fuse or a bad gfci outlet. Sometimes we even find a hidden switch that will cause the outlet not to work.
So Why Is My Outdoor Outlet Not Working?
The number one reason for an outlet not working is moisture. Once the outside plug has any type of moisture in it.
This causes the gfci to stop working and will not reset. Another factor that may cause your outside plug from not working is just age. The gfci may be just wore out.
In most cases this is time for replacement to the plug. You can consult with your local electrician to have it replaced. You can find out more on what outside plugs we recommend here.
Why Is My Outdoor Outlet Not Working After Reset?
The trip mechanism may be gone in your outside plug. When you press reset it should go in all the way and the light on the plug should come back on.
It should not feel spongy when you reset it. Try pressing the test then reset button a couple times. Sometimes the buttons tend to stick.
If this does not fix the problem then check your breaker panel. Sometimes the breaker for the outside plug will be tripped.
There are cases when we install a gfci breaker instead of a gfci plug. This would be located in your power panel and you might have to reset it.
We have also seen instances when the outside plug is on a switch. This is usually for xmas lights. Make sure it is on.
If non of these methods work then it may be time for replacement of the plug.
Why Is My Outdoor Plug Not Working After It Rains
Moisture is the number one killer to an outside plug. If moisture gets inside the outlet it was simply cause it to stop working.
This includes fog, rainstorms and wind. Once the electronics inside the gfci get wet they will most likely have to be replaced.
We have also noticed that if you have an extension cord plugged into the outlet like xmas lights will cause it to trip as well.
Even if the cord is outdoor rated the gfci will still pick up the moisture from the rain and cause it to trip.
You will notice that after it dries up you can then reset the gfci.
Do I Press The Test Then Reset?
Press the test first then the reset. You may need to use a blunt small object like a screw driver to push it. The weight of your finger may not be enough.
When you press the test button you should hear a clear snap sound. When you press the reset button it should depress and engage like a spring.
You will probably need to do this a couple times especially if it hasn’t been done in a while.
Its a good Idea to do this once a month to exercise the gfci mechanism.
How Do I Stop The Moisture From Getting Into The Plug?
Buy an in use cover. the picture below shows you what one looks like.
The in use cover allows you to close the cover with something plugged in like a cord. This will help stop rain or water from getting into the plug.
Another helpful tip is to caulk or use silicone around the outside of the cover to stop water from running down the wall to seep into the plug.
Lately if you are building a new home have your electrician install the outside plug under a covered porch area. This will help keep the weather off the plug.
Do I Need To Have A GFCI On An Outside Plug?
By code an outdoor plug must be protected by a gfci. It also stated you must have these plugs protected with in use covers now.
It does not say you need to have that gcfi protection outside. You can use a gfci breaker or install the gfci inside and down feed the outside.
You can see more on down feeds here.
Can I Have A GFCI Breaker Installed?
Yes you can have a gfci breaker installed. It will go right into your panel box. This puts the reset in the panel instead of on an outside plug.
Very convenient to have this done as you will not have to worry about moisture getting into the plug and tripping it.
This method is costly though. A gfci breaker is about $90 dollar and oppose to a gfci plug is only $20 dollar.
You will want to protect all of your outside plugs on this one breaker to keep the cost down.
Why Is There Multiple Outside Outlets Not Working?
The reason you would have several outside outlets not working is because one of them is most likely a gfci plug down feeding the rest of the plugs.
Once the first gfci trips it takes out all of them. Make sure you check around every plug and find the one with the reset.
There could also be a gfci plug inside the house feeding the ones outside so have a good look around.
In some cases we use what we call a faceless gfci like shown in the picture below. This simply has a test and reset with no way to plug anything in.
This would be located by your panel box..
Why Is The Red Light Flashing On The Outlet
Hubbell has a gfci on the market that has green and red lights. Green means go lol and red means stop. No all jokes aside green means there is power present and the outlet is working correctly.
Red solid color means the gfci has been tripped and needs to be reset.
If the red is flashing that means the outlet needs to be replaced due to a malfunction.
This is a good feature to have as it can help identify the issue for you.
Why Is The Outdoor Outlet Not Working But Has A Regular Plug Not A Gfci?
Well… this could be related to a number of issues and not as clear to figure out.
- It could be a blown fuse and you don’t have any gfci protection at all.
- Could be that you have a tripped gfci breaker in your panel box.
- Also could be a faceless gfci tripped like shown in the pics above.
- The best is a switch that’s off controlling the outdoor outlets that you forgot was there. We get service calls for that all the time.
It is usually one of the 4 issues above.
How Long Do Outdoor Outlets Last?
Outdoor plugs will last up to 10 years. After that corrosion will set in. This makes the terminals on the plug rust until it does not work.
In salt water environments its usually less. The salt air at your ocean front property will eat away at the components.
You should be making a good effort to do your tests and resets on the plug. In any case these outlets should be replaced after 10 years.
The Outlet Stopped Working But Nothing Is Tripped
This could mean corrosion has rotted the terminals off inside the plug.
It is common on outlets facing the weather on your home. You should have a qualified electrician check this out for you and replace the plug.
You may have lost the hot or neutral to the plug breaking the circuit with no voltage.
Another thing to consider is mice. Rodents or mice can climb in the smallest places even if they are not in your home.
They like the soy based ingredients infused in the wire used to wire most homes today.
This is the white nmd90 wire you see running through your basement.
We are Hubbell certified dealers and install many hubbell products through Graybar Canada. This is why we are able to use these images to help you. All of the credit goes to them.
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